Today, the car buyer considers a lot more variables, like, styling, practicality, after-sale service support, features and so on. But one of the criteria that is quickly making its way towards the top of the checklist is safety. The modern-day car buyer in India is a lot more evolved in terms of what he or she wants from their next vehicle. No longer is it about finding the car that struck the balance between being most aggressively priced and offering the highest fuel efficiency.
Carmakers today are making an active effort not only to meet the bare minimum safety standard required in order to be able to sell that car in India but instead, meet the highest levels of global safety standards. As a result, you can get your hands on one of India’s safest cars in a budget within Rs 10 lakh.
If you too are someone who gives priority to safety over everything else, then this is the list for you. As we write down the list of safest cars that you can buy in India under Rs 10 lakh.
1. Mahindra XUV300
Our first car in this list is the Mahindra XUV300. It is also the newest car in this price bracket to have undergone a safety test. The Mahindra XUV300 compact-SUV has been awarded the highest 5-Star safety rating by global safety watchdog Global NCAP. It is also the highest point scorer among all the 5-Star rated cars from India tested so far by Global NCAP.
The Mahindra XUV300 has also become the first Indian vehicle to score a 4-Star child safety rating. It is noteworthy that side-impact performance is a pre-requisite for a 5-Star safety rating, and the XUV300 side-impact performance has been one of the best among all 5-star rated cars.
2. Tata Altroz
The Tata Altroz achieved five stars for adult occupant protection and three stars for child occupant protection under the tests done by Global NCAP. The Altroz, which offers 2 front airbags as standard, had its structure and its footwell area were rated as stable. Head and neck protection for adult occupants was good. Chest protection for both adults was adequate.
Child occupant protection showed good protection for the 18-month-old dummy with the CRS installed rearward facing and using the standard ISOFIX anchorages. The 3-year-old CRS was installed forward-facing, the backrest of the seat unlatched during the crash due to the load of the top tether which was a reason for a score reduction.
The head contact of the 3 years old dummy with the interior of the car, the lack of three-point belts in all seating positions, and the lack of possibility of disconnecting the passenger airbag when a rearward-facing CRS is installed in the passenger seat explain the three-star rating for child occupant protection.
3. Tata Nexon
The Tata Altroz isn't the only car from Tata to be one of the safest cars in India as it was the Tata Nexon which bagged the title for being the first five-star scoring car from Tata Motors. Interestingly, the Tata Nexon also holds the title for being the first car from India ever to get a 5-star crash test safety rating.
The model offers good protection for both adult head and neck, marginal protection for the driver's chest and adequate protection for passenger's chest. The pedals showed some risk for the lower legs due to their displacement. The 18-month-old child dummy received good protection while the 3-year-old child passenger showed high readings in chest and head exposure.
4. Tata Tiago/Tigor
You have to give credit to Tata Motors at this point for offering a total of four cars under Rs 10 lakh which make it to the list of top five safest cars in India in that budget. After the Nexon and the Altroz, the Tata Tiago and the Tigor are your next best bet at safety as both of these cars have received a crash test safety rating of four stars. Since the Tigor is actually based on the Tiago and is almost identical in construction, we decided to club these two cars together at number four.
The two cars achieved three stars for child occupant protection in the crash test. The Tigor and the Tiago offer two front airbags as standard and had their structure and footwell area rated as unstable. Head and neck protection for adult occupants, on the other hand, was good.
5. Volkswagen Polo
The final car in this list comes from one of the brands that have been long known for making well-built cars in India - Volkswagen. Their hatchback offering, the Volkswagen Polo, achieved a four-star crash test safety rating for the variant with dual airbags. Interestingly, the Volkswagen Polo is also sold internationally but the car in question that did receive four out of five stars was actually the India-spec model.
The Volkswagen Polo had a structure that remained stable and, therefore, with airbags fitted, protection for the driver and front passenger would be much improved. Coinciding with the Global NCAP tests, Volkswagen has decided to withdraw the non-airbag version of the Polo from sale in India. Because of this, Global NCAP agreed to a request from VW to assess a version of the Polo that has two airbags fitted as standard as from now. The protection proved much better and this airbag-equipped model received a four-star rating for adult occupant protection.
Using the child seats recommended by Volkswagen, the Polo achieved a three-star rating for child protection.
So there you have it, five of the safest cars that you can buy in India under Rs 10 lakh. The fact that three of these five cars have scored the maximum star rating, and the other two having scored four out of five stars shows that there are some really well-built cars that are up for grabs for Indian consumers. So it is about time that safety rises to the top of the checklist of those looking to buy their next car.